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Swede harmony in our classrooms

How do you convince policy-makers and decison-makers in the education sector that they ought to be mainstreaming human rights education within the school system?

That human rights are so self-evidently "a good thing" that they ought to be fundamental to every child's education?

That States are obliged to promote human rights education as part of their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights treaties?

That human rights education is proving to be an effective means of improving school discipline, reducing bullying and boosting academic performance?

We focused on the latter two arguments in a conference, Mainstreaming Human Rights Education, which we and our partners staged last week in Belfast, for the benefit of educators and education policy-makers on both sides of the Irish border.

UNESCO representative Jun Morohashi laid out the State obligations for providing human rights education, while Gunilla Larsson, Sweden's Director of Education, was able to provide a case study of effective mainstreaming of human rights within their national education system. They have seen real benefits in Sweden already, for children and for teachers, since they introduced human rights and democracy values into the school system.

Best press headline of the event (so good I nicked it for this blog): 'SWEDE HARMONY IN OUR CLASSROOMS?'  From the Irish Daily Star no less! Now, when was the last time the Daily Star ran a story on mainstreaming human rights education…

Meanwhile for a video report on the conference, here's a link to the Irish News TV item, featuring Northern Ireland education minister Caitríona Ruane and (ahem) yours truly. Pics from the conference available on our Flickr gallery.

Let me know what you think of our approach to convincing the Minister and education officials of the benefits of human rights education.

And, while you are it, let us know: did you get any human rights education when you were at school?

And when did you first see a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Convention on the Rights of the Child? At school and/or through Amnesty?

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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